The planning element of marketing is about creating a vision for the future and deciding precisely which customer needs you will serve, what you will do to serve them, and at what price. These elements form your ‘offering’.
This post is the second of three that make up the Geeksy small business marketing system; and is also available as a downloadable template, ready to complete for your business:
Before you complete this template, it is important that you first complete both the marketing intelligence template.
In the customer needs analysis section of the first post on marketing intelligence you segmented your customers into different groups based on the reasons why they have certain needs. Now you will decide which of these segments you will focus on – your ‘target segments’ or ‘target market’. It’s best to focus on targeting just a few, or even one, segment (niche marketing).
For each of your target segments, you will develop products that are both profitable and repeatable; in order to meet the particular needs of those segments. Remember, the term ‘products’ is used interchangeably to mean products, services or a mixture of both.
It is important that your products are repeatable in order to build a system, and so a business, around their delivery. Once you’ve constructed your products, you will price them and decide where and how you will promote them.
Before you choose your target market, and how you will serve that market, you must have a clear vision for the business – and objectives which will help you to deliver that vision.
- What’s your vision for the business? This should be a powerful statement of your vision for the business when it’s fully developed. What do you want to achieve with your business? What do you want to be known for? This statement should be ambitious and punchy.
- What are the measurable objectives that will deliver your vision? In order to deliver your vision, what are the milestones along the way? These objectives will let you know that you are going in the right direction and they are something to aim for. They should be SMART, that is: specific, measurable, achievable, results-based and timed.
Your Target Market
In the marketing intelligence questionnaire you segmented your customers by need; you listed all the possible reasons that potential customers have for needing the things that you provide. Each of these different reasons that you identified forms a particular ‘target market segment’.
- Which market segments will you target? Two different market segments may have the same need as each other, but not the same reason for having that need. The fewer segments you target, and the more specific the reasons making up those segments, the more ‘niche’ you will be. Marketing to a specific niche has many advantages over a wider appeal, so it’s worth being really focused in your targeting. What are your target market segments?
Now you have a clear target market in the form of different market segments that you will target. These target market segments are groups of customers who behave similarly because they have similar needs and motivations. You will now develop products tailored to each segment.
- For each market segment in your target market, describe the tailored product that you offer this group of customers. Take each target market segment one-by-one and describe exactly what you will offer them and why it is suited to that segment.
- One-by-one, what makes each product so special? What is unique about each of the products you have created (its unique selling proposition or USP)? If a product isn’t truly unique in the market; how is it better, nicer, easier or cheaper?
- Where you are you positioned between the most expensive way that your customers can address their needs and the cheapest? In the competition modelling section of the marketing intelligence questionnaire you analysed the most expensive competitors, the cheapest and the ones in between. Describe where your products are positioned between these extremes, or indeed, if you are outside these extremes.
- How do you price your products? Describe the pricing strategy behind each of your products.
- Where will you offer your products? In the customer buying behaviour section of the marketing intelligence questionnaire, you identified where your customers buy products like yours. Where will you offer your products? Where will you make the sale?
- Do you sell from fixed premises? If so, how does this limit you geographically? Does the nature of your business limit you to fixed premises? If so, how far will customers travel to reach you (what is your catchment area)? Could you find innovative ways to broaden your reach or should you remain focussed on the existing area?
- Do you sell to your customers online, or could you in the future? Describe how selling products online works, or might work for your business.
- How do you intend to promote your products and create a buzz? How do you intend to communicate your message to your potential customers and other interested parties? Just a broad outline at the moment – you will cover this area in more detail, during the marketing communication questionnaire.
If you would like to download this post as a template ready to complete for your business, you can do so here:
Marketing Planning Template
Alternatively, you can move on to marketing communication element of the Geeksy small business marketing system.